© 2024 WXXI Public Broadcasting, 280 State St. Rochester, NY 14614, (585) 325-7500
Celebrating 50 years on FM 91.5
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Hochstein Performance Hall reopens after renovations

The historic Hochstein Performance Hall has reopened after renovations
The historic Hochstein Performance Hall has reopened after renovations

The Hochstein Performance Hall reopened this week after being closed for renovations through the summer.

At a short ceremony on Tuesday, there were speeches by city, county, and state officials, recognizing the extensive history of the building and the school’s role in the community.

Built in 1890 as the auditorium of the Central Presbyterian Church, what is now the Performance Hall was the site of funerals for Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony. Hochstein purchased the building in 1978. The hall was updated to its current form in 1999.

These latest renovations addressed water damage and a crumbling roof. Along with that structural work, attention was paid to some of the original artistic details, notably a hand-painted mural of acanthus vines over the stage.

At the reopening, Hochstein student Noah Busch played music by Johann Sebastian Bach on violin, and soprano Kearstin Piper Brown sang music by Mozart with Hochstein’s Assistant Director and Dean Gary Palmer playing the piano.

State Senator Jeremy Cooney spoke about his personal connection to the school, and its tuition assistance program, looking back to his time as part of Hochstein's "Little Singers" ensemble: “I’m so grateful for that opportunity, that Hochstein invested in a young boy interested in the arts.”

The event also introduced the school’s new president and CEO Hilary Respass, who took over in July from long-time director Peggy Quackenbush.

Respass highlighted the ways that students learn music and dance when they are able to be together in person, “There is no energy like it,” she said, “And I hope that people come to experience that, because once you have it – you don’t want to let it go.”

The Hochstein Performance Hall will host upcoming performances by the RPO, Society for Chamber Music in Rochester, and the Rochester Oratorio Society. And in collaboration with WXXI, the midday concert series Live from Hochstein will return next month.